Time Saving Tips for User Researchers

Good User Research Takes Time

The most common complaint among UX professionals is that research takes too much time, especially with looming project deadlines. As a result, research begins to slip or isn’t given the time it deserves to meet those deadlines. Not to mention staying on budget, or keeping development moving. But take a look at the flip-side: slowing down to gather user data upfront can ultimately save time in development by clearly defining true user need and focusing the development team on the most important features.

Luckily, there are techniques and tools you can start using today to help simplify user research and ultimately save time on your next research project.

Tips For Recruiting Participants

Recruiting and scheduling participants is the most time-consuming and frustrating part of conducting research. Try using a professional recruiting service like User Interviews. They will recruit your targeted demographic then allow you to hand-pick the best candidates. Once you set the schedule, they take care of everything else, saving time and internal resources.

If you want to save a little money, try targeting your social media followers. Reaching out to the people that follow you on social media can help you target users already interested in your value proposition and feel connected to your product. Putting together a simple survey on social media channels can provide a springboard to start a deeper conversation and possibly a more invested user. After all, you took the time to ask for their feedback.

And if you’re recruiting on your own, you should make use of scheduling tools which make it very easy to set up interview times. Tools like Calendly, NeedtoMeet, and Boomerang make the scheduling process easy.

The Art of the MVC

Notebook with sketches

Another great UX research time-saving tip involves mastering the art of the MVC, or “Minimal Viable Concept.” In contrast to an MVP (Minimal Viable Product), an MVC is the smallest, testable thing that you can create in order to get feedback. Utilizing text, a simple sketch, or basic wireframe may be all you need to make a decision.

For example, if you want to know if people can quickly understand a product’s value proposition when they visit your marketing site. You don’t need to create a fully functional and complex page to gather this information. A simple way to test this might be creating a hero line, posting to a few online communities, then asking people for feedback.

MVC focused thinking leads to quickly gathering information about what users find valuable and the pain points they’re experiencing. Try it and let us know how it works for you!

Never Underestimate the Power of Advisor Input

Another time-saving tip is to build a panel of trusted users that can offer feedback as you roll out new features. Ideally, this would be a group of early adopters and experts in their fields that can guide you throughout development.  By reaching out to them periodically with surveys or quick interviews to hone in on wants and needs, test out concepts and designs, or use them as guinea pigs for new features and functionality you can speed up the iterative process.

Get Your Team Involved

One of the best ways to save time is adopting an “all hands on deck” approach - making sure that the whole team is on the same page and trained in the research process. The more you can expose new members of your team (as observers) to the process, the better.

A great place to start is to have new team members act as notetakers during in-person interviews. Handrail was developed to support multiple notetakers allowing everyone to participate no matter how much experience they have.

Focus, Focus, Focus

Clear goals and objectives will ensure everyone is on the same page, saving hours in meetings over the course of a research project. Using a visual tool that everyone can work from is a great place to start. We developed a UX Research Planning Map as a way for our team to visualize the planning process. This tool helps us align goals and objectives, with the methods we’re going to use and keeps us focused on deadlines.

Developing standardized practices can better define team member roles and eliminate wasted effort. With everyone on the same page, we’ve reduced the number of meetings needed to keep everyone updated on the process.

In the End

UX research is time-consuming but that doesn’t make it any less important. The product you’re developing will eventually be in the hands of users with very real problems that you’re trying to solve. Remember that offering a superior user experience makes everyone happy and without research, your chances of success are uncertain.

By taking the time to simplify the user research process as much as possible, and making sure to use the right tool for the right task, you create a situation where winning research and valuable insight come faster and more furious than ever.

About Handrail

We built Handrail to help teams collaborate throughout the entire user research process. Plan, collect, analyze, store, and share your research all in one location. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today.

Jennie Banta

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